Our bodies fight cancer more than we really know, says Kenneth Grossmann, MD, PhD, a medical oncologist at Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) and assistant professor of dermatology at the University of Utah (U of U). And, he adds, advances in medicine can help the immune system fight cancer even better.
Clinical Trials Posts
Congratulations to Theresa Werner, MD, Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) investigator and University of Utah assistant professor of medicine, who received a 2016 Cancer Clinical Investigator Team Leadership Award from the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Dr. Werner serves as medical director of the HCI Clinical Trials Office and manages an extensive portfolio of cancer clinical studies.
Clinical trials for some cancer patients may be the last, best hope for survival. A phase I trial is the first time a treatment is studied in people—usually a select number of patients who have not had success with other treatments. A rigorous process of approval takes place before doctors test these new therapies on patients for the first time.
Inheriting a mutation in the APC gene leads to a nearly 100% lifetime risk of colorectal cancer. While colon cancer can be kept at bay by removing the large intestine, these patients also have up to a 15% risk of getting cancer in the small intestine, which is the leading cause of cancer death in this patient group. A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) has identified the first prevention treatment for these patients, a two-drug combination that significantly reduces the number and size of precancerous polyps in the small intestine.
Walking into clinic, I found the patient and his wife looking tired and apprehensive. From what I knew of his medical history, his cancer had not responded to any standard treatments, each drug failing to restrain the tumor’s advance for more than a few months. The patient and his wife had talked to their local cancer doctor about clinical trials, had traveled hundreds of miles to Huntsman Cancer Institute, and were clearly anxious to begin the discussion.